'Exhausting, isolating and painful': Zoe Hendrix shares difficult breastfeeding journey

Zoe Hendrix: "Breast feeding is hard and for me it has been bittersweet."
Zoe Hendrix: "Breast feeding is hard and for me it has been bittersweet." Photo: Instagram/zoehendrix

No matter how determined a new mum is to breastfeed her baby, the experience is not always an easy one - just ask Married At First Sight star Zoe Hendrix. 

Hendrix, who gave birth to daughter Harper-Rose in November 2016, has shared a poignant reflection on the highs and lows of her breastfeeding journey, after being diagnosed with mastitis - yet again.

"I saw the doctor yesterday after the tell-tale signs lingered all morning (fever, fatigue, sore/hot breast). He has prescribed me antibiotics and said if it doesn't clear by Monday, we may look at surgical drainage."

The mother-of-one added that while she has continued to feed as frequently as possible - as per recommendations - it's "so DAMN painful".

And while her husband Alex Garner, whom she met and married on the same day on MAFS, dearly wants to help, there's very little he can do. "He can only standby and offer words of encouragement as his nipples are made for decoration purposes only."

Admitting that "breastfeeding is hard", the popular mama adds, "for me it has been bittersweet".

While it's incredibly rewarding, she says, and confers "incredible" benefits to our babies, Hendrix shares that it's also caused her anxiety. "I keep having this strange paranoia that my milk will dry up," she writes.

And, along with the anxiety, Hendrix adds that breastfeeding can also be exhausting, isolating and painful.

"I hope this clears up," she says of her latest bout of mastitis "and I can continue [breastfeeding] for my personal goal of at least 12 months.

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"But if I can't I hope I can find peace with that."

Ms Hendrix then turned to her almost 85,000 followers for their tips on how to prevent mastitis.

And the mums of Australia delivered.

While many offered advice, such as using cabbage leaves, taking hot showers, wearing loose tops and trying different feeding positions, others simply offered support, solidarity - and gratitude.

"I remember sobbing uncontrollably when the pain was unbearable while feeling," one mum wrote. "It was but a moment in the scheme of things, an incredibly painful, hard, distressing moment. But we got through it."

"I want to say thank you for sharing this with others," another commenter wrote. "I love that you're so willing to show the complete normalcy of this to other mums who perhaps felt alone in their battles to breastfeed ... Good luck with it. You're amazing!'

It's not the first time Hendrix has spoken candidly about motherhood; its highs, lows and everything in between. Earlier this year, the reality TV star shared that the first three months after her daughter was born were the "happiest and most challenging 12 weeks" of her life.

Since then, Hendrix has continued to upload extremely relatable posts - including this one.

"We decided to go for a hike seeing as it was such a beautiful day and we are trying to be fitter," she wrote. "After a solid 10 minutes, we decided it was too hot and instead we went to the bakery and ate chocolate balls! DREAMS DO COME TRUE."

Oh, and we love this one too!

 

CURRENT state of affairs at our place! #miloislifemiloislove 🙈✔️

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Ms Hendrix also recently admitted that like many other new mothers, she had fallen into the trap of following "Insta-mums" online - with runway ready fashion, snot-free babies, and perfectly designed nurseries.

"I soon discovered once becoming a mum that although it's nice - it's not real," she wrote. "And even if it's real, it's not the full picture."

Urging other mamas to "keep it real online", Ms Hendrix added, " Share your battles, share your scars, share your fears, share your failures, share your struggles, and of course, still share your highs!"

I'll vow to try to do the same, she said.

And she certainly is.

 

BEFORE Harper was born I followed a few celebrity Mums of Insta. With their cute ass flat lays, perfectly designed nurseries and ridiculously squeaky clean babies. Not a snot ball or dribble chin in sight and mama was always looking runway ready. I soon discovered once becoming a mum that although it's nice - it's not real. And even if it's real it's not the full picture. On social media more often than not - we only see the highlight reel and not the real. And it creates false illusions and expectations of motherhood/parenthood/relationships & just life in general! So I urge you to try to keep it real online. Share your battles Share your scars Share your fears Share your failures Share your struggles And of course still share your highs! But above all - share your real and your truth. I vow to try to always do the same 🙏🏽💪🏽 {pic was taken on sat when we first took our baby to the beach as I was desperate to get out of the house, I would have cheerfully went to the tip! 🙊) #wildsaturdaynight #marriedatfirstsight #familylife❤️ @alex_garner_

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